October is the month when our collective unconscious turns to the dark side. Nights grow longer, leaves rustle and fall, temperatures drop and we draw closer to our metaphorical fires. Old stories stir the primeval soup of our imagination as we recall the Headless Horseman, The Tell-Tale Heart, Dracula, Frankenstein and all the hideous ghouls and undead from The Mummy and World War Z. It is the month when figures from our deepest nightmares abound and the dead visit their families for a snack.
At my hearth, tales of the netherworld frequently turn to our familial experiences. The ghost who makes coffee when no one is awake, the harridan on the elevator at the haunted hotel, the Civil War prisoner who walks endlessly back and forth calling our for his long lost love, the clanking of horses and artillery in a dark wood, witch balls falling from a black desert sky, and, my personal favorite, a Ouija board that predicts events that have already passed.
Seers, empaths, interpreters of dreams descended from ancient crones that see the future in sheep bones, we shiver and quake in the terrifying shadow of the autumnal equinox and the delicious possibility that we will see something–anything– in the gloom of an October night. And that night comes . . .October 31, Halloween. The night when the spirits are loosed.
You would think that with the “horrors” we face in our day to day lives, we would not cling to the notion that clanking chains, astral figures, shape shifting werewolves, the living dead and blood sucking vampires are out to get us. But they are!
They want our candy, our hot chocolate, our popcorn balls and our caramel apples. They want to overwhelm our porches and run shrieking across our lawns, and for a moment transport us to a world where the real “monsters” stay under the bed or down in the basement. A world where the sun will return and Christmas is only two months away. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!